Cranking Out The Friday Megalinks

Let’s do some Friday linkage for you.

MLB Postseason starts up really in earnest with four games on Saturday. College Football in full swing and the NFL completes its first month of games on Sunday. Your Weekend Viewing Picks have everything you need to know in sports and primetime programming.

To the linkage.

National

Michael Hiestand of USA Today writes that Fox Sports’ NASCAR coverage will be known for having the Brothers Waltrip next year.

Mike Reynolds of Broadcasting & Cable writes that Turner Sports will be all over the League Division Series for the first four days of the MLB Postseason.

Adweek has a graphic showing how much time we spend on watching football.

Bill Cromwell of Media Life Magazine writes that TBS and Fox should see good ratings for the MLB Postseason based on an exciting final night of the season on Wednesday.

Nelli Andreeva of Deadline reports that ESPN is developing an ABC sitcom based on Boston sports fans. That’s going to go over well.

Bill Hofheimer in ESPN’s Front Row blog talks with ESPN’s Jon Gruden about calling a “home game” this Monday.

Jim Romanesko of the Poynter Institute looks at the despicable reaction of Buffalo Bills fans to a column written by a female sportswriter at the Albany Times Union.

Bob’s Blitz has video of WFAN’s Mike Francesa attempting to add on the air.

Brandon Costa at Sports Video Group looks at ESPN placing microphones on various players and coaches during the WNBA Finals.

Brandon chronicles a wild Wednesday night at MLB Network.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell looks at the advantages or lack of thereof having a bigger payroll in MLB.

The Sports Biz Miss Kristi Dosh tells us that despite not making the playoffs, the Atlanta Braves and the Boston Red Sox still get a share of the postseason pie.

The Sports Media Watch looks at how the tumultuous Final Night of the MLB season led to a ratings bonanza for ESPN.

SMW says for the MLB season, ESPN’s ratings went up slightly.

SMW says TBS’ ratings for the MLB regular season were flat compared with last year.

Joe Favorito looks at how Dick Vitale has made himself into a viable brand.

The Daly Planet delves into the changes with the Fox Sports NASCAR crew.

The Influencer Economy has a look into Blogs with Balls 4 and the future of sports media.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn at the Boston Globe (this is the last day I’ll be able to link to Chad as his columns go behind the dreaded paywall starting October 1) writes about NESN viewers unable to see analyst Dennis Eckersley on the last day of the season.

Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette writes that Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy shares some blame in the Red Sox collapse.

Newsday’s Neil Best talks with TBS’ Brian Anderson who steps into the network’s lead spot for the MLB Postseason.

Justin Terranova of the New York Post has five questions for NBC Football Night in America analyst Rodney Harrison.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union writes that a new local sports talk show host isn’t spending any time discussing any local topics.

Ken McMillan at the Middletown (NY) Times Herald-Record writes about local radio stations picking up MLB League Division Series games.

To the New Jersey Newsroom where Evan Weiner says the college conference shuffle is making fans roll their collective eyes.

In the Allentown (PA) Morning Call, Keith Groller writes that MLB will have a hard act to follow in the postseason after a compelling final night of the regular season.

Laura Nachman says Comcast SportsNet will be all over the Phillies in the MLB Postseason.

In Press Box, Dave Hughes of DCRTV.com writes that sections of the Baltimore Sun’s sports website will go behind the dreaded paywall.

South

The Florida Times-Union reports that the Jacksonville Jaguars have avoided a blackout for Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints.

To the St. Petersburg Times where Tom Jones says Sun Sports got big ratings for the Tampa Bay Rays’ march to the playoffs this week.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle writes that MLB Network was all over the twists and turns from the final night of the regular season.

Mel Bracht of the Daily Oklahoman has his news and notes.

Midewest

John Kieswetter of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that a local CBS affiliate will provide halftime highlights during Bengals games at Paul Brown Stadium.

John writes that Saturday’s Cincinnati-Miami game will be seen live online and on local TV on tape delay.

Michael Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press talks with Tigers TV voice Mario Impemba about the team’s chances of advancing in the MLB Postseason.

Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel speaks with Brewers TV voice Brian Anderson about getting the top gig for TBS for the playoffs.

Bob has a couple of quotes from CBS’ Phil Simms about Sunday’s Denver-Green Bay game.

To Crain’s Chicago Business and Ed Sherman who writes that Nebraska’s addition to the conference can only help the Big Ten Network.

Ed has his winners and losers in sports media and business.

In the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin, Paul Christian talks with former Minnesota coach Tim Brewster who’s now patrolling the sidelines for Gus Johnson and FX’s college football game of the week.

Jennifer Mann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Cardinals TV voice Dan McLaughlin has been arrested on DUI charges for the second time this year.

Dan Caesar of the Post-Dispatch writes that Fox Sports Midwest has suspended McLaughlin indefinitely.

West

Bill Center in the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres expect to bring back its TV booth, but no word on the team’s radio announcers or new TV contract for next season.

The Union-Tribune says Sunday’s Chargers game against the Dolphins will be blacked out.

John Maffei of the North County Times says the Padres hope to have a new TV deal (with Fox Sports Net) in place by the New Year.

At the Ventura County Star, Jim Carlisle writes that Wednesday’s MLB season finale was Must See TV.

Jim says despite being on a losing team, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Matt Kemp is in the center of the MVP debate among TV analysts.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News looks at Jenn Brown’s endorsement deal with GNC.

Tom says Bill Macdonald’s full-time days with Fox Sports West are over.

Tom looks at TBS’ coverage of the MLB Postseason.

Tom wonders why the NFL pulled back the 1st half Thursday Night Football package from the table.

Canada

In the Toronto Globe and Mail, Bruce Dowbiggin says MLB got a shot in the arm on Wednesday.

The Canadian Sports Media Blog writes that TSN has locked up curling on TV in Canada through the end of the decade.

And that’s going to do it. I may have a few more links later tonight.

Sports Media Musings: The Big O losings O’s

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I previously wrote Ordway is a program director. He no longer holds that title. Oversight on my part. Apologies.

Chad Finn’s article last week said according to industry sources, Glenn Ordway was given a choice: Cut his rumored $1 million salary in half, or face the possibility of losing his job at Entercom-owned, WEEI. The Big O’ thought better of it to take the former.

Ordway, who’s role includes hosting “The Big Show” afternoons from 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM, failed to finish in the top three in the coveted 25-54 demographic during the spring ratings book. This, allegedly, gave Entercom an oppotunity to opt out of Ordway’s rather lavish contract.

The timing of the pay-cut is curious and – from an outsider’s perspective – ominous for the former monopoly of sports radio in Boston. I’ve documented in this space before how WEEI’s fall from grace coupled with their adversary – 98.5 The Sports Hub – has unfolded. But I ruminated the possibility of a WEEI bounce-back in the summer books, which are set to be released next Tuesday by third-party Arbitron.

The Bruins Stanley Cup frenzy waning combined with the fact WEEI broadcasts Red Sox games, seemed to point to an oppotunity for WEEI to take back what was once theirs. With news of The Big O’ losings O’s at the end of his paycheck, one has to postulate Entercom has caught wind they under-performed (again) during the summer ratings period.

Since I’m here, let’s dig a little deeper.

Ordway’s salary cut is appropriate. Obviously this is opinion, but he never should have been making that kind of money to begin with.  The guy talks about sports four hours a day. Granted, his show was largely successful. And if you’re the best, you deserve to make the most. But Ordway – along with the rest of the WEEI roster – was the best by default. Never once, while listening to “The Big Show”, was I ever met with an epiphany from an Ordway ‘take.’ I never found myself saying, “Wow, that was a different spin on things I had not considered.”

Things were supposed to change after “The Big Show” changed up the roundtable format with the addition of the affable Michael Holley. However, still, more often than not during “The Big Show”, my ears are met with colloquial conversation that after 20 minutes turns into yelling, and has “celebrity” callers garble more nonsense. The only change seems to be Mike Adams doing his best Ed McMahon impression. I’m not sure if this was a joke that I was not “in” on, or if the program was just a caricature of a sports show. Once Mike Adams became a permanent fixture, I was convinced it was the later.

Perfect Example: Holley (in a sarcastic tone) – “Mike I know you are a hardened journalist — what do you think?”

Adams – “Journalism? I may be a professional at Ururinalism!”

It is unclear whether Adams bombs like “The Situation” at the Trump Roast on purpose or not.

Back to the show. With news of CSNNE’s agreement to simulcast Ordway’s direct competition – “Felger and Mazz” - things continue to look bleak for WEEI. Moreover, the Red Sox collapse combined with the real possibility the NBA season won’t take place means WEEI is forced to talk Patriots/Bruins until the ‘Host Stove’ talks heat up. Only issue is 98.5 The Sports Hub is the flagship station for those two teams and carry the games.

Next Tuesday will tell us more. A lot more. But as a personality told me recently, “It is easy to see which station is going up and doing well, and which station is not.”

Francona Gone? Theo Too?

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported last night that the Red Sox and manager Terry Francona are expected to part ways, as soon as today.

Francona expected to leave Red Sox

The Chicago Sun Times reports today that Francona wants out, and would be interested in joining the White Sox:

Terry Francona wants out of Boston; White Sox are logical landing spot

It would be tough to see the best Red Sox manager ever leave town, but you knew something had to change with the team after that dreadful final month. Could Theo Epstein be gone too? The Sun Times also reports that the Cubs are going to make a run at Epstein – Cubs will make run at Theo Epstein for GM job.

That would be quite the shakeup. Stay tuned.

A few quick links before handing things over to Ryan later this morning:

Media Roundup: Did The Boston Globe Take Pleasure In Red Sox Collapse? – My SBNation Boston media column looks at whether the Globe and Boston.com treated the Red Sox elimination as something to celebrate.

Rice no match for Eckersley – Chad Finn says that it’s a shame that Dennis Eckersley wasn’t available for NESN after the Red Sox elimination.

Red Sox fans have Dan Shaughnessy to blame – Bill Doyle’s media column puts the blame for Wednesday night on the Globe columnist.

Meet The New Red Sox, Same As The Old Red Sox

When Evan Longoria’s 12th inning home run barely snuck over the wall near the left-field foul pole in Tampa last night, all I could do was laugh.

I mean, what else could you really do at that point? All seemed well earlier in the night. The Red Sox and Orioles were in a rain delay with the Sox ahead 3-2, and the Yankees leading the Rays 7-0 in the eighth inning.

Then Dan Shaughnessy appeared on my TV screen via NESN. His beaming face proclaimed that the Red Sox would now be able to have a day off before starting their division series with the Rangers or Tigers, because the “Rays aren’t going to win tonight.”

<a href="http://msn.foxsports.com/video?vid=f89d1a6f-0c85-4303-b39f-e498d0ae2d20" target="_new" title="">NESN: Shaughnessy jinx?</a>

I knew right then how things would turn out.

The loss stings, but it isn’t the devastating killshot that ’03 or ’86 or ’78 were. This wasn’t a sudden death, it was long and drawn out, and by the end of it you were just hoping they’d get put out of their misery. Big picture, this is a worse collapse than those seasons, but in the moment, not quite as painful.

So who takes the fall for this one? I’m already anticipating what changes are going to be made to this team and organization between now and next February. This will be a transitional offseason if there ever was one.

If you’re going to read anything this morning, I recommend Chad Finn: Red Sox did this to themselves

Here’s a few other links from this morning. As you can imagine, this is a Shaughnessy-free zone, though I did hear he makes references to the “baseball Gods” this morning. Must be a new book in the works. What’s the angle this time? (I think Jeff Jacobs has already coined the phrase The Curse of the Andino.) Maybe it’s the connection to LeBron James…

For Sox, misery arrived in slow motion – You can also rely on Alex Speier to bring you a reasonable take on things.

A hurt for the ages – Gordon Edes says that this one is going to take a while to get over.

This isn’t 1978 … it’s much, much worse – Christopher Smith explains why this is so bad.

‘Devastating blow’ for Red Sox – Scott Lauber looks at a collapse rivaled only by that of the Berlin Wall.

Red Sox forever choked – Steve Buckley says not to let the two World Series trophies blind you: the Red Sox are still the Red Sox.

Sox problems run deeper than final loss – Sean McAdam says that the Red Sox had set themselves up for just this sort of torturous ending.

Red Sox complete a collapse for the ages – Mike Fine says that the final weeks of the season turned into a “nightly death struggle.”

Why Terry Francona was one who deserved (and deserves) better – Rob Bradford says that the Red Sox manager is a victim in this mess.

Plenty of question marks for Epstein – Nick Cafardo says that the Sox GM will have some answering to do.

Wakefield wants to come back – Peter Abraham’s notebook has a odd quote from the knuckleballer, who believes that “the fans deserve an opportunity to watch me chase that (all time Red Sox wins) record. The Herald notebook from Scott Lauber has the Red Sox players backing Francona.

Seymour is still defensive force – Julian Benbow has a look at Richard Seymour’s role in bringing the Raiders back to respectibility. The former Patriot talked with New England reports on a conference call yesterday. More on Seymour from Dan Duggan | Paul Kenyon | Glen Farley | Tom E. Curran

Good stuff on Brandon Spikes – Ian Rapoport looks at whether the second-year linebacker might be starting to “get it.”

Just a finesse team? Patriots hope not – Chris Forsberg looks at the Patriots transition from a “a lunch pail-toting group of overachievers with a smashmouth defense to some version of the Greatest Show on Turf, an offensive juggernaut with
little defensive backbone.”

Time to question Ochocinco’s play – Karen Guregian looks at the receiver’s poor play.

Pats Pregame Points: Game Four At Raiders – Chris Warner looks ahead to Sunday.

Mankins misses practice with illness – The Patriots Journal has the All Pro guard missing perhaps the first practice of his career yesterday. The Herald notebook from Ian R. Rapoport  has a look at the Seymour trade. The Globe notebook from Monique Walker has more on Ochocinco. The Enterprise notebook from Glen Farley has Brian Waters talking about playing in the “Black hole.”

Steven Kampfer, Matt Bartkowski ignoring the elephant in the rink – DJ Bean looks at the battle for the last defensive spot on the Bruins.

Bruins’ Sauve hoping his number is called - The Globe notebook has the Bruins second round pick in 2008 hoping to show he’s NHL-ready.

Red Sox Do It The Lavarnway

The Red Sox got a pair of home runs from a rookie making his first Major League start behind the plate, and needed both of them as they barely hung on for an 8-7 win in Baltimore last night. The win kept Boston tied with Tampa for the Wild Card playoff berth heading into tonight’s regular season finale.

If the Red Sox can somehow win two games in a row – something they haven’t done all month – they will very likely have to play again tomorrow in a one-game playoff with the Tampa Bay Rays, who are playing a resting Yankees squad tonight.

All square – Peter Abraham looks at things all tied up, with one to go.

Red Sox not closing book yet – Gordon Edes looks at what could be the final chapter in this Wild Card chase. Rob Bradford says that there is no one the Red Sox would rather have save their season than Jon Lester. Christopher Smith says that it is time to put up or shut up. John Tomase says that despite the collapse, this stretch run has been very exciting. Steve Buckley says that forgiveness can only come with a Wild Card berth.

Ryan Lavarnway Does More Than the Average Fill-In, Carries Red Sox Offense in Crucial Victory – Tony Lee looks at the 24-year-old rookie from Yale who may have saved the Red Sox season. Joe McDonald looks at the impressive performance both at and behind the plate for the rookie.  Alex Speier says that Lavarnway was well-prepared for this position. Scott Lauber has the rookie getting his homework done before the game. Sean McAdam has the rookie happy to contribute.

Sox in trouble even if they make ALDS – Sean McAdam doesn’t paint a pretty picture for the Sox if they somehow survive today and tomorrow.

I suppose I should comment on the trash submitted by Globe columnist Brian McGrory this morning. Entitled These Red Sox not a good fit for Boston, the column says

If you’re whining, moaning, wailing, or crying, get yourself a grip. This store-bought team never reflected Boston. It never paid homage to what the city and the Red Sox have traditionally been. This team, in short, never had a story and never had a narrative arc. If it did, it would read as follows: We should win more games because we spent more money.

He also lists off all the free agent busts of the last few years. I’m wondering though, what exactly makes this team any different from 2004 or 2007. Both of those teams had about the same or perhaps even less homegrown talent than this one has.

This column smacks of the ESPN the Magazine storyline of what New Englanders are, their puritanical and thrifty roots, and how all that in some way, shape, or form relates to how we cheer for our sports teams. Sports these days is all about spending money. The team that is ahead of the Red Sox in the AL East standings is the one that spent more money than they did. You can say that this team is not likeable, that’s a valid argument perhaps, but not a good fit for Boston? Had they sailed into the postseason without any issues would this column have been written?

Ironman now Alfredo Aceves’ role – Where would the Red Sox be without the Yankees castoff? Lauber’s notebook has the reliever shining for the third game in a row. The Globe notebook from Peter Abraham has more on Aceves, as do the CSNNE.com notes from Sean McAdam. The Red Sox Journal has Terry Francona shuffling up his lineup last night.

And yes, you did hear Mike and Lap Dog trashing Jacoby Ellsbury for four hours yesterday. He’s not their type of player. Not enough of a Trot Nixon-like “Dirt dog.” Leave it to Matty in the Morning on Kiss 108 this morning to take Felger to task, mentioning the irony of Felger and his “musical theatre” background calling Ellsbury a pretty boy…

Seymour leads Raiders revival – Ron Borges looks at how the former Patriot has transformed the entire Oakland franchise and brought it back to its nasty roots. Chris Forsberg says to get ready for the ‘what-ifs’ in regards to Seymour.

What might have been: Bill Belichick, Oakland Raider? – Christopher Price notes that Al Davis interviewed Belichick for his head coaching spot twice during the 1990s.

Bill Belichick’s Job Interview With Raiders Spurred Patriots’ Dynasty and 19 Other Thoughts – Jeff Howe also touches on the interview in his 20 thoughts for the week.

Patriots didn’t have things covered in the secondary – In reviewing the loss to the Bills, Greg A Bedard notes that once again, the big issues were with the secondary.

First Impressions – Oakland Raiders – Greg Doyle looks at some key Raiders and what they’re saying out in Oakland. Greg A. Bedard also looks at the Raiders. Glen Farley says that the Raiders and Patriots are unfamiliar foes.

Nowhere to run for Patriots – Karen Guregian says that the Patriots need to get their running game going.

More roster turnover – Mark Farinella says that all the shuffling of the roster is an indication that Bill Belichick has no idea where is team is headed.  

Deion Branch OK with pattern changes – Guregian’s notebook has the receiver insisting all is good after getting shut out on Sunday. The Globe notebook from Monique Walker has the Oakland running game presenting a big test for the New England defense. The Patriots Journal notes that the Raiders prowess running the ball goes against league trends. The Enterprise notebook from Glen Farley has the Raiders preparing for a ‘finesse team’ in the Patriots.

Bruins roster takes shape – Stephen Harris has the defending champs starting to get their lines settled.

Room to go, and to grow, at center – Fluto Shinzawa has second-year center Tyler Seguin giving the Bruins from options at center.

2011 Approval Ratings – Ian Rapoport

Ian Rapoport covers the New England Patriots for the Boston Herald.

The Boston-born but New York raised Rapoport joined the Herald in July of 2009. He had previously worked for The Birmingham News, where he covered the Alabama football program led by Nick Saban.

The Columbia University graduate employs an energetic style to his coverage of the Patriots, having fun, yet still breaking his share of scoops along the way. He is prolific on Twitter and is very engaged with his audience. He’s been a regular guest on sports radio, and on TV with Comcast SportsNet.

Ian Rapoport 2011 Approval Ratings
View Results

Brady’s Four Interceptions Help Buffalo End Streak Against Patriots

Tom Brady threw four interceptions yesterday, and the Patriots defense continued to give up yards and points at an alarming rate as the Buffalo Bills came back from a 21-0 deficit to defeat the Patriots 34-31 out in Western New York. It was the first time that the Bills have beaten the Patriots since 2003.

ESPN the Magazine’s Boston issue this week features a column on Tom Brady which might be the worst thing I’ve read in some time. In short, the premise is that Boston fans don’t like Tom Brady anymore because he is too perfect. So by that logic, yesterday’s performance raised him a bit in the eyes of the Boston fandom.

Thanks to John Lackey however, the Patriots loss may not totally dominate the talk around town at least for today. TMZ reports that the embattled Red Sox starter is divorcing his wife, who has been fighting breast cancer. Last night, after Lackey actually pitched pretty well in a 7-4 Red Sox extra innings win, Lackey confronted reporters, saying that he had been texted about a personal matter from a media member just 30 minutes before the game started. Rumors says that the came from the TMZ reporter.

The Red Sox magic number for the Wild Card sits at three, with three games to play this week against Baltimore.

Pressure on – to improve defense – Greg A Bedard says that offseason plans to improve the defense haven’t worked, as that unit is still unable to generate any pressure at all on the quarterback. Chris Forsberg says that the Patriots need to go back to the drawing board on the defensive side of things. Hector Longo says that it is a fact that the Patriots have sold their fans a bill of goods when it comes to this supposedly rebuilt team. Ron Borges mocks the supposed “big play” defense. Tom E. Curran says that the defense is just not good enough.

Patriots can’t pick Brady up – Mike Reiss says that costly penalties and spotty defense were just as much to blame for this loss as Brady’s four interceptions.

Ten Things We Learned Sunday: No defense for this outcome – Christopher Price says that the defense’s shortcomings is the biggest thing to take away from this one.

A bit of a catch for Welker – Monique Walker looks at a record-setting day for Wes Welker, who would rather have gotten a win yesterday.  Karen Guregian has more on the afternoon for Welker.

True to form, Patriots consider loss quietly – Mary Paoletti says that there wasn’t a lot of demonstrative anger in the Patriots locker room after this one.

Pats play ‘passive defense,’ says Buffalo’s Nelson – The Patriots Journal has even the Bills taking some shots at the weak New England defense. The Globe notebook from Shalise Manza Young and Monique Walker has another shaky game from Chad Ochocinco. The Herald notebook has more on the struggles of 85, who dropped a sure TD pass yesterday.

Apparently the objective media in Buffalo was really excited by this win:

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Did Jacoby Ellsbury save the Red Sox season last night? His three run homer in the 14th inning lifted the Red Sox to a win and a doubleheader split with the Yankees yesterday, preserving the Red Sox one-game lead in the Wild Card.

Red Sox show they’ll stick it out – Gordon Edes has Ellsbury and the Red Sox hoping this win can give them a boost. Nick Cafardo says this might’ve been Ellsbury’s MVP moment.

The turning point? How Sox hope to use dramatic win as springboard – Alex Speier has the Sox headed to Baltimore knowing that they still control their own fate. Speier also examines What happened to Carl Crawford’s defense.

Sox take deep breath – Michael Silverman has the Sox showing a pulse.

Pen stopped at nothing – Peter Abraham’s notebook has the Red Sox bullpen coming up big. The Herald notebook from Scott Lauber has more on the Lackey incident. The CSNNE.com notes from Sean McAdam have Ellsbury hitting a few milestones yesterday.

Friday Megalinks

Due to being at jobsites for the last few days, I haven’t been able post links like I’ve wanted to at either my main page or the Fang’s Bites at BSMW site. I apologize for that. I have tried to be diligent in updating as much as I can.

Let’s get to the linkage.

But first, there’s always the Weekend Viewing Picks for your sports and entertainment planning.

National

John Ourand at Sports Business Journal writes that ESPN will do everything it can to head off NBC/Versus at the pass.

Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch asks if sports broadcasting and politics should mix?

Jeff Latzke of the Associated Press says the Big 12’s TV contracts helped to keep the conference together for now.

The Nielsen Ratings Wire blog notes that among various TV programming, sports in primetime continues to do well.

USA Today’s Mike McCarthy talks with CBS/WFAN/Westwood One’s Boomer Esiason on how the NFL should investigate the Dallas Cowboys’ medical staff for clearing Tony Romo to play last Sunday.

Mike says ESPN is denying any responsibility for the recent college football chaos and says the Longhorn Network doesn’t have anything to do with it. I think Texas A&M, Missouri and other Big 12 schools would beg to differ.

Bob Velin of USA Today writes that CBS’ 48 Hours Mystery program will investigate the mysterious and unsettling death of boxer Arturo Gatti.

Mike McCarthy and Michael Hiestand of USA Today debate whether schools or TV wield the power in college sports.

John Taylor of College Football Talk writes that Brett Favre gets his first taste of being an analyst next week for CSS.

John Eggerton of Broadcasting & Cable reports that the FCC has ruled that Cablevision-owned MSG Network cannot withhold its HD signal to other cable providers violating program-access rules.

Mike Reynolds from Multichannel News writes that YES received its second highest rating ever for the American League East Division clinching game this week.

Mike says Golf Channel and NBC Sports are teaming up for a promotion to give a lucky viewer of “The Big Break” a chance to win a trip to see Notre Dame play in Ireland next year.

Tim Nudd of Adweek says the NFL has pulled an ad for its fantasy football product which used a picture of Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles after he was injured last week.

David Lieberman of Deadline reports that Time Warner Cable is planning to offer a low cost tier that will not include ESPN in the lineup.

Timothy Burke of SportsGrid has the video of ESPN sideline reporter Jenn Brown calling Cincinnati football coach Butch Jones something else.

Glenn Davis at SportsGrid has the sixth and perhaps final installment of New Era’s Yankees-Red Sox Alec Baldwin-John Kraskinski ads. They have been quite good. This latest one may have taken it a bit too far.

Also from SportsGrid, Dan Fogarty reviews the ESPN Films documentary “Catching Hell”, on Steve Bartman and the 2003 Chicago Cubs.

Sports Media Watch talks with the crew of ESPN’s College GameDay.

SMW says despite being on tape delay, Fox drew a decent audience for its first English Premier League game on Sunday.

SMW notes that the ratings for CBS’ 2nd game of its NFL doubleheader dropped from last year.

SMW says the NBA lockout has forced the cancellation of the start of training camp and over 40 preseason games.

And SMW has some various ratings news and notes.

Joe Favorito looks at one imaginative marketing campaign that helped Eye Black this week.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell reviews “Moneyball.”

Darren has some interesting facts on sports participation in America.

Karen Hogan of Sports Video Group looks at how CBS Sports Network was able to bring the Tim Brando Show into a TV simulcast from his base in Shreveport, LA.

Matt Yoder at Awful Announcing has this week’s network TV on-screen typos.

Ben Koo from AA says tomorrow is when Gus Johnson and FX get their real grand opening in college football.

At The Stir, Maressa Brown feels ESPN’s Erin Andrews is unqualified to demonstrate CrossFit.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe writes that WEEI’s Glenn Ordway has suffered a rather severe pay cut due to low ratings for The Big Show.

At SBNation Boston, BSMW Fearless Leader Bruce Allen looks at a busy week in local sports media news.

Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette writes that Dale Arnold is pleased to be back with NESN after leaving in 2007.

Lang Whitaker and Ian Lovett of the New York Times give us an inside look at DirecTV’s Red Zone Channel and NFL Network’s RedZone.

John Jeansonne of Newsday reviews ESPN Films’ documentary on transgendered tennis player Renee Richards.

Newsday’s Neil Best says fans seem to be buying into the New York Islanders’ future.

Claire Atkinson of the New York Post has news that some Time Warner Cable subscribers have been waiting for, that the company appears to be close to a carriage agreement with NFL Network.

Phil Mushnick at the Post can’t stand ESPN’s Monday Night Football.

Justin Terranova of the Post says last month’s Russian plane crash that killed 44 members of the KHL team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl really hit home for MSG Network analyst Joe Micheletti.

And Justin has five questions for Joe.

Lou Lumenick of the Post says “Moneyball” is one of the best baseball movies of all-time.

I’ll break my self-imposed embargo on the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman for a week for this story on the Yankees’ radio rights which are in flux and so are the fates of broadcasters John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union writes that MSG Network has named Steve Cangialosi to replace Mike “Doc” Emrick on New Jersey Devils games.

And Pete talks with Steve about his new gig.

Ken Schott of the Schenectady Gazette is not a fan of a new local sports talk show host.

Ken notes that NBC Sports is extending its “Summer at Saratoga” series for at least two more years.

At Press Box, Dave Hughes of DCRTV.com notes that Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic has announced its Capitals and Wizards schedules.

Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner says the college football conference merry-go-round could have some legal ramifications.

Jim says the ratings for the NFL in both Baltimore and Washington were very strong.

South

In the Miami Herald, Joseph Goodman notes the irony of ESPN possibly saving college football from massive chaos.

Matt Murschel of the Orlando Sentinel catches up with ESPN college football analyst Jesse Palmer.

Jeff Sentell of the Birmingham (AL) News says ESPN is not ponying up to air high school games from the region.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle notes that an Astros broadcaster is celebrating 25 years with the club.

David asks readers if they find the idea of the Longhorn Network offensive.

Mel Bracht at the Daily Oklahoman says an Oklahoma State wide receiver will be profiled on ESPN’s College GameDay.

Midwest

Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer says Cleveland MLB team radio voice Mike Hegan is leaving he broadcast after this season.

John Kiesewetter of the Cincinnati Enquirer says Reds voice Marty Brennaman can’t campaign on-air for his former partner Joe Nuxhall for the Baseball Hall of Fame Ford C. Frick Award.

Micahel Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press wonders why the DirecTV/NBC series “Friday Night Lights” didn’t do better in the ratings.

Bob Wolfley in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says actor Brad Pitt saw “Moneyball” as a compelling story.

Bob says the Green Bay Packers will be showcased aplenty in the late afternoon window on both CBS and Fox this season.

Ed Sherman in Crain’s Chicago Business writes that the PGA Tour’s BMW Championship failed to draw viewers away from the NFL on Sunday.

Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times talks with WMAQ-TV sports anchor Paula Ferris.

Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wonders why Cardinals TV voice Dan McLaughlin has been missing of late.

Kevin Haskin of the Topeka (KS) Capital-Journal writes that CBS Sports Network was in town to air an NCAA Division II football game this week.

West

Jay Posner from the San Diego Union-Tribune says Big Ten Network won’t allow the local Cox system to pick up Saturday’s San Diego State-Michigan game on a one-time only basis.

The North County Times’ John Maffei writes that unless fans can find a sports bar, they’ll have to listen to San Diego State on the radio.

Jim Carlisle at the Ventura County Star says it’s too bad Southern California couldn’t see the end of the exciting Oakland-Buffalo game due to silly NFL rules.

Jim says HBO will replay last Saturday’s controversial Floyd Mayweather-Victor Ortiz fight.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News says a bankruptcy court has given the Dodgers permission to change their flagship radio station for next season.

Tom says the NFL secondary market rule needs to be changed.

Tom also has a few notes that he couldn’t get into his Friday column.

Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News looks at the Pac-12’s decision to stand pat, TV’s role in the whole thing and where BYU may be headed.

Canada

Bruce Dowbiggin from the Toronto Globe and Mail writes that CBC’s P.J. Stock is regretting his initial comments on Wade Belak’s death.

The Toronto Sports Media Blog is not so fast to forgive P.J.

The Canadian Sports Media Blog notes that CBC has made some additions to its Hockey Night in Canada crew.

And there you have it for your links today.

Sports Media Musings: “Felger & Mazz” to Broadcast on CSNNE, Dale Arnold Reunites With NESN

The Coup?

I know Bruce covered this briefly yesterday, since I’m only a weekly contributor I wanted to pass along some thoughts. Comcast Sports Net New England agreed with 98.5 The Sports Hub to simulcast afternoon drive radio show “Felger and Mazz.” The announcement came yesterday, but industry insiders have known about the deal, which supposedly had been in ongoing negotiations for a while now. The merging of broadcast, albeit in different mediums, raises a myriad of questions and possibilities.

The Affiliation

The Sports Hub’s Perspective

A great move for the burgeoning radio station. After decisively winning the spring ratings, management has not floundered. They continue to find alternate ways to upstage their competitor, WEEI. WEEI’s similar simulcast of morning drive show “Dennis & Callahan” on NESN was seen as a win for both parties. However, due to its dedication covering all four teams and original programming CSNNE is more endearing to Joe SixPack than NESN.

So there’s that.

But there’s also the detail NESN stands for New England Sports Network, but doesn’t produce any effective sports coverage outside the Bruins and the Red Sox. They gave up being a serious sports network during the first segment of “Sox Appeal” and continue to hammer the point with “Schooled.” I’ve pondered why they died as a sports cable station a few weeks ago, yet it is still inexplicable. Either way WEEI loves the affiliation with “D&C” because it bolsters the stations marriage with the Red Sox.

CSNNE’s Perspective

CSNNE is stressing original programming, taking stock in the Mark Shapiro ESPN years (highlighted by shows such as “Around the Horn” and “Pardon the Interruption”). They rolled out a similar simulcast launching the “Dan Patrick Show” recently. And, yes, I’m aware a simulcast isn’t really original programming, but it’s filler that isn’t an infomercial. Additionally the lead into their nightly lineup transitions well: “Felger and Mazz” (2:00-6:00 PM), “Sportsnet Central” (6:00-6:30), “Sports Tonight” (6:30-7:00). Finally, one has to consider the impact on CSNNE of the NBA strike. The station needed a stop-gap, and find solace with this deal.

The Talent

I’ve written about the “Sports Lodge” (Fred Toettcher’s coined term defining personalities in the sports media), and their unique circumstance being in competition on the radio during the day and co-hosting CSNNE shows at night at length. Very “Jekyll and Hyde.”  These dudes go from adversarial neighbors to Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in a matter of hours.

This move, of course, creates disparity between the strength in relationship between CSNNE and 98.5 against CSNNE and WEEI. Invariably, you’ll still see Lou Merloni, Glenn Ordway, and the rest of the WEEI talent scattered across CSNNE shows. The real question: What about the Tweeners?

We saw CSNNE writer Joe Haggerty go from doing appearances on WEEI, only to jump and appear 98.5’s shows. Will this entice a guy like Tom E. Curran to consider a similar move?

Furthermore, CSNNE’s rock star Michael Felger could get too many at-bats in a given day. Keep in mind that’s something I’m saying, and I like Felger’s song and dance. But four hours mid-day, and then hosting “Sports Tonight?” There is such a thing as overexposure.

Guess Who’s Back, Back Again?

Dale Arnold and NESN are going to give it a second go around.  Arnold will take over for the departed Kathryn Tappen as studio host for the Bruins games. Arnold used to do play-by-play for Bruins home games for over ten years. This all changed when NESN wanted Dale to call away games and Arnold declined. He left the network to maintain his role on his WEEI radio show. Of course, in a major change-up, WEEI relegated Arnold to fill-in duty, taking away his position as midday host.

Since the demotion, Arnold has experienced somewhat of a renaissance. The Bruins Stanley Cup run coerced WEEI to swallow a bitter pill and use Arnold incessantly, because he is the only knowledgeable hockey host in the current station roster. Arnold’s radio play-by-play for the Red Sox every Wednesday has made him a frequent guest on CSNNE’s “Sports Tonight” and also “Sports Sunday.” Suddenly, I was seeing more Dale Arnold than ever.

Personally, I developed a weird appreciation for Arnold following the move. I’m not sure if it was just sympathy. Or, maybe that my only issue with Dale over the years was his over-reaction to things like Kevin Garnett swearing on the basketball court. Compared to many other inhabitants of the “Sports Lodge”, that’s tolerable.  Although I’m sure his deal with NESN forbids him going on any of CSNNEs programming, Arnold’s once cataclysmic predicament has become a fortuitous circumstance.

Felger And Massarotti To Be Simulcast on CSNNE Starting This Fall

98.5 The SportsHub and Comcast SportsNet New England announced this afternoon that the Felger and Massarotti show would begin a daily simulcast on CSNNE beginning sometime this fall.

The exact date that this will start is not known yet, as a studio is being completely rebuilt/refurbished for this show. Felger said in the announcement that they wouldn’t just be throwing black drapes over the windows – an obvious shot at the WEEI/NESN arrangement – but that they would be “doing it right.”

This further cements the 98.5/CSNNE relationship, and Felger also said this has been in the works for some time, as during the early days of the station, they actually broadcast for a time from the CSNNE building while their studio was readied.

More and more, sides are being drawn, WEEI and NESN, 98.5 and CSNNE. It’s interesting to watch things develop and wonder where they might come to a head.

One thing I appreciated about this announcement was that they said they would have an announcement at 3:00 and they actually announced it at 3:00. Not 3:20, but actually at 3:00. Imagine that.